Hints on handling wine:

If possible avoid the temptation to open your bottles of wine the moment you get home. Try to leave them for a few days to recover from the journey; it will be worth the wait!

If you can resist the temptation of your wines and you are planning to keep them for more than six months, lie the bottles down so that the corks don't dry out over time, thereby letting air in. It is advisable to lay down the bottles with their label uppermost so that any sediment will always be found on the opposite side. When serving the wine therefore, pour label uppermost so as to disturb the sediment as little as possible.

Try to keep your wine out of direct sun light and if possible in the dark, away from sources of vibration and at a constant temperature. The actual temperature at which you keep your wine isn't so important, so long as it is less than about 18°C and above freezing.

Hints on serving wine:

Wine may be decanted for different reasons.

First, it helps the wine to breathe. In very general terms, the heavier the wine, the longer it needs to breathe. Also with young wines it helps to release more of the aromas and flavours of the wine and can therefore enhance your enjoyment. However wines can be left to breathe in the bottle. Light white wines can be poured straight from the bottle, whilst richer, oakier wines will reveal more of their complexity if they are allowed to breathe for 15 minutes or so. Reds should perhaps be left to breathe for an hour or so.

The second reason to decant is due to wine's sediment. If your wine has thrown a sediment, decanting is the best way to serve it without stirring up the sediment. If your wine has a floating sediment you will need to be able to see it when the swirl of sediment approaches the lip of the bottle. To do this use a light source below the bottle and pour in one smooth flow until you see the dark cloud of sediment approach the neck of bottle and at this point: stop.

The temperature at which wine should be served depends upon its age, structure and character. If the temperature is too low, this makes most red and even some white wines seem hard and thin with little or no bouquet. If the temperature is too high it can upset the balance of the wine making it seem coarse and unpleasant.

Style of Wine

Temperature Range

Dry white wine7°C - 13°C
Young sweet white wine (less than 18 months old)6°C - 8°C
Older sweet wine (over 18 months old) 8°C - 10°C
White vins doux naturels (Muscats or Beaumes de Venise) 6°C - 7°C
Red vins doux naturels (Banyuls, Rivesaltes) 10°C - 15°C
Champagne8°C - 9°C
Lighter fruity reds (Loire, Beaujolais)11°C - 14°C
Red Côtes du Rhônes13°C - 18°C
Red Burgundies14°C - 17°C
Red Bordeaux16°C - 19°C

There are many different traditional glass shapes, which tend to be associated with different styles of wine. But in general a clear, uncut tulip shaped glass is ideal for drinking wine. The clear glass enables you to appreciate the true colour of the wine. The tulip shape of the glass concentrates the aromas of the wine and should funnel them straight up your nose!

Remember when it comes to taste, it is only your opinion and those of your guests that matter. Wine is to be enjoyed, there are no right of wrong answers. This is particularly true when it come to the type of wine to serve with food: why not serve red wine with fish if that is what you prefer?

Wine with food:

As we have just said, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to serving wine with food, but here is a table that we hope might be a helpful guide.

Soup

Light Soups-
Fish SoupProvencal Rosé, Entre Deux Mers, Muscadet sur Lie
French Onion SoupPinot Noir, Beaujolais
Thick Vegetable SoupsMontravel, Entre Deux Mers
Thick Meaty SoupsFine Dry Oloroso Sherry


First Courses

ArtichokesMacon Blanc, Beaujolais Blanc, Rosé
AsparagusChablis, Riesling d'Alsace, Rosé
CarpaccioCôtes de Beaune, Côtes de Chalonnaise
CaviarChampagne
CharcuteriePinot Gris, Rosé de Provence, Saumur, Beaujolais
ConfitCahors, Corbières, Minervois
EscargotBeaujolais, Saint-Nicolas, Hautes Côtes de Beaune
Fois GrasSauternes, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris
GrenouilleSancerre, Montravel, Entre Deux Mers, Saumur
MelonHaut-Montravel, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise
PatéBeaujolais, Saint-Nicolas, Chinon
QuicheDry White Bordeaux, Pouilly Fumé, Sancerre
Salad (Green)White Hautes Côtes de Beaune
Salad (Niçoise)Reuilly, Sancerre
Smoked FishPouilly Fumé, Sancerre
Soufflés (cheese)Côtes du Ventoux, Bergerac
Soufflés (Fish)Saint-Véran, White Mercurey


Fish

Fruits de MerEntre Deux Mers
LobsterMeursault, Montrachet, Chablis
OystersMuscadet sur Lie, Sancerre
MoulesMuscadet sur Lie, White Graves
ScallopsGewürztraminer, Chablis, White Côtes de Chalonnaise
Fresh Water FishRiesling d'Alsace, Saint-Véran, Rosé, Beaujolais
Atlantic FishMédoc, Graves, White Graves, Bergerac
Mediterranean FishProvencal Rosé, White Rhône, Gamay
Smoked FishPouilly Fumé, Sancerre, Chablis


Main Courses

Boeuf BourguignonCôtes de Beaune, Côtes de Nuits, Cahors, Minervois
CassouletBergerac, Corbières, Minervois, Cahors
ChickenWhite Graves, St Véran, Macon, Beaujolais
Coq au VinCôtes de Nuits, Côtes de Chalonnaises
ChoucrouteRiesling d'Alsace, Pinot Gris
Duck/GooseMontrachet, St Emilion, Margaux
GameSt Estèphe, Pomerol, Pauillac, Gigondas, Vacqueyras
OffalCôtes de Nuits, Margaux, Pauillac, Châteauneuf du Pape
RoastsClaret, Burgundy, Rhône
VealChinon, Beaujolais, Médoc


Cheese

Soft Mild CheeseClaret, Burgundy, Sancerre
Soft Strong CheeseCôtes du Rhône, Côtes du Roussillon, Minervois, Port
Mild Hard CheeseClaret, Burgundy, Chinon
Strong Hard CheeseCôtes du Rhône, Corbières, Bergerac, Port
Blue CheeseGewürztraminer, Sauternes, Port


Desserts

Sweet PuddingsCrémant de Loire, Demi-sec Champagne, Sauternes,Monbazillac, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Banyuls
FruitChampagne, Crémant de Bourgogne, Haut-Montravel
ChocolateDemi-sec Champagne, Liqueurs, Cognac, Eau de Vie
NutsPort, Madera, Banyuls

Grape varieties

Hints on tasting wine



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